Lotusland 2024: only succulents

Part 1 of my post about my recent visit to Ganna Walska Lotusland in Montecito, California, is all about non-succulent plants. It also gives an overview of Ganna Walska’s life and the history of Lotusland. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend that you do to have a better understanding of what was important to Madame as she continued to develop her gardens. Part 2 is about nothing but succulents. Ganna Walska liked cacti and other succulents for their architectural qualities, so there are a lot of them. In fact, some of Lotusland’s best known sights are in this category, like the thousands of cacti and cactus-like euphorbias around the main house: Around the main house Almost immediately after she bought the estate in 1941, Ganna Walska tasked landscape architect Lockwood de Forest with finding mature cacti and succulents to replace the traditional landscaping around the main house. That was a highly unusual choice back then, but it very much reflected her fondness for mass

Queen of the night flowering for the first time

In our garden, late winter to early spring is all about aloe flowers . When the aloes are done blooming, around mid-April, that’s when the cacti start . I’ve been so focused on the sun-loving cacti in the front yard that I almost forgot I also have a few shade-loving cacti in planters hanging from trees in the backyard. I briefly posted about them three years ago , but have largely ignored them since then. That has started to change. The epiphyllums I was given in 2021 have survived (all but one), but life in coir liners hasn’t been ideal – the material doesn’t retain water and doesn’t offer much in the way of thermal insulation. I’ve recently moved two of them into proper planters, and one of them promptly flowered for the first time. It’s a night-blooming epiphytic cactus with cream-colored flowers, commonly called “queen of the night.” According to the label, its botanical name is Disocactus crenatus ‘Chichicastenango’. The cultivar name is based on its place of origin, near the tow